European Council President’s Special Envoy to mediate Georgia’s political crisis talks, Christian Danielsson, is visiting Tbilisi on March 12-14, where he already met President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
President Zurabishvili said that her meeting with the EU Special Envoy was “very productive.” She reiterated that all sides must put Georgia first and “fight for depolarization and stability.”
Later, in the Government Chancellery, after meeting with Danielsson, Prime Minister Garibashvili remarked that the ruling Georgian Dream party is ready to be “results-oriented” at the negotiations.
“We have an expectation that the [mediation] process will conclude in a very short time,” PM Garibashvili added, noting he hopes the opposition will be “constructive” at the talks.
PM Garibashvili said ruling party chair Irakli Kobakhidze, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, and Vice-Speaker Kakha Kuchava will represent the Georgian Dream government at the negotiations.
The EU Special Envoy, on his part, highlighted after the meetings that there are “serious” concerns in the EU on Georgia’s political impasse, adding that political parties have to find the necessary compromises to resolve the crisis.
“I would like to underline that my role, the team’s role, also together with Ambassador Degnan, is to support this effort,” he said, going on to stress that it is “ultimately” up to the political players to find a way forward.
The European Commission’s Special Envoy arrived at the Tbilisi International Airport earlier today, and will also hold meetings with opposition leaders and CSO representatives throughout the visit.
Mr. Danielsson was mandated to mediate the talks between the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties by European Council President Charles Michel, who led the effort to re-launch the stalled post-election talks on March 1, during a visit to Tbilisi.
The EU-mediation initiative came as tensions ran deeper in February following the detention of opposition leader Nika Melia, only a few hours after PM Garibashvili’s election as Prime Minister. PM Garibashvili replaced Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned after refusing to greenlight Melia’s detention.
Melia, the chairperson of the former ruling United National Movement party, charged for inciting violence during June 2019 anti-occupation unrest outside the Parliament, refused to pay increased bail. The bail was imposed on him after he threw monitoring tag – as a sign of protest – during one of the post-election rallies in November.
Georgia’s major opposition parties reject the results of the last general election, citing “massive fraud.” 54 of 60 opposition MPs are still boycotting the new 150-member Parliament.